Bishop to Boycott Obama Commencement Speech

    South Bend is heating up over the controversy surrounding Obama and the local bishop...Read the post

    2009 College Grads: We're the Lucky Ones

    Why there is hope for the graduating Class of 2009, and how they can find work in a recession...Read the post

    Beer in Vending Machines -- What Drinking Age?

    U.S. policies on drinking age seem restrictive when examining the rest of the world...Read the post

    How The Press Can Remain Relevant

    Is it any surprise that Obama has employed a strategy to cordon journalists that is similar to previous administrations?...Read the post

    Be Afraid, Cheney Warns. Be Very Afraid.

    Just when you thought the Bush-era warnings of Armageddon around the corner were over, Cheney strikes again...Read the post

    Obama: You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry...

    Obama threw down his stick, spat on the floor and growled in the face of cameras -- metaphorically... Read the post

    Obama to GOP: 'I Won, I'm The President'

    "You can't just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done," Obama told GOP leaders...Read the post

    Palin Seeks $11M Book Deal, but Can She Read?

    One can only imagine what Republican rising star Sarah Palin could possibly write about in her memoirs...Read the post

Rss Feed

national news

Supreme Court Explores High School Searches, Personal Drama

Sam Guzik

Posted: Apr 24th 2009 10:06AM

Filed Under: National News, Washington University, News

Sam Guzik is now a contributor for The Cram, a student news arm of the newly launched To follow his future work, click here.

The Supreme Court is one of the United States's most venerable institutions, packed with nine of the nation's best legal minds, so it makes sense that they might be a little too busy to keep up with popular culture. Comments during the oral arguments in a case earlier this week, though, take out of touch to a new level.

Safford Unified School District v. Redding, heard by the court on Tuesday, asks the justices to weigh in on the constitutionality of strip searching students in schools when administrators have received a tip about hidden contraband but no location-specific information. While sorting through the complex fourth amendment issues, Justices found themselves transported back to their own time in school.

Take Justice Breyer, who wondered how the strip search was any different than what he had to endure while being forced to change for gym class and, less relevantly, while being teased by fellow students.

"In my experience when I was 8 or 10 or 12 years old, you know, we did take our clothes off once a day, we changed for gym, OK? And in my experience, too, people did sometimes stick things in my underwear," said Breyer while trying to point out that it might not be unusual for children to hide things from teachers in their underwear. As the court broke out into laughter, Breyer quickly added, "Or not my underwear. Whatever. Whatever."

Full Article »

It's Not a Pagan Ritual, I Swear

Sam Guzik

Posted: Apr 8th 2009 5:33PM

Filed Under: Religion, Washington University

So a large group of Jews gets together early in the morning and they start to pray toward the sun -- no, it's not the start of a really bad joke, it's a description of the rarest event in Jewish practice occurring only once every 28 years.

More specifically, the ritual, known as Birkat Hachama, is a blessing recited in appreciation of the sun, timed to occur when -- based on Talmudic calculations -- the sun is at the place in which it was created.

The observation of the ritual consists of reciting of the blessing "Blessed art thou, Lord our God, Author of Creation" and several scriptural passages. From start to finish, it can be completed in several minutes, but has brought together Jews around the world of varying degrees of observance.

Full Article »

Higher Tuition Means Students Pay More for Less, Report Says

Sam Guzik

Posted: Jan 18th 2009 12:08PM

Filed Under: On Campus, Washington University, The Economy

For students and parents already groaning under the weight of paying for higher education, the news that tuition at colleges and universities across the country will almost inevitably be higher has been sending shock waves through public and private institutions alike.

Even before the final budgets for most state institutions are set by the legislature, a painful trend has been emerging: according to The Associated Press, California's proposed budget would raise state university fees by about 10 percent; Florida's governor is looking to increase each individual school's power to raise tuition; and the State University of New York has already announced an unusual midyear 14-percent increase.

The panic over higher than expected tuition increases compounded with the release of a report this week saying that most college students are paying more for their education, even as their schools spend less on teaching them.

Full Article »

international news

Joe The Journalist to Report on Gaza

Sam Guzik

Posted: Jan 9th 2009 10:21AM

Filed Under: International News, Washington University, Media

Fresh off the success of his recent memoir, Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher-better known as Joe the Plumber-is off to the Middle East to try his hand at war reporting. The former plumber will travel to Israel looking to tell the story of average Israelis for the conservative website, a division of Pajamas Media.

"I get to go over there and let their 'Average Joes' share their story, what they think, how they feel, especially with world opinion -- maybe get a real story out there," Wurzelbacher said late Wednesday on Ohio television station, WNWO.

According to a blog post by Roger Simon, chief executive and founder of Pajamas Media, on the company's web site, Joe the Reporter will focus on covering "the West Bank, Bethlehem (to investigate conditions for Christians there), southern Israel where the missiles are falling and, of course, as close as he can get to the Gaza border."

Full Article »


With New Semester Underway, Bad News for Student Newspapers

Continuing a trend of dour news for media outlets around the country, a growing number of student papers are cutting issues, cutting staff salaries and pushing more content online.

This week alone, the Georgia Southern University student paper, the George-Anne, and the University of Minnesota student newspaper, the Minnesota Daily, announced plans for serious changes moving into second semester. At Georgia Southern University, the cuts are primarily being attributed to a desire to restructure the paper; The George Anne, which has seen dropping grades and staff counts, eventually plans to resume publication five days a week when that is again sustainable.

The Minnesota Daily, however, attributes its cuts directly to the economy and the fact that the paper's revenues were headed 30 to 35 percent below budget for the year if no changes were made.

Full Article »

New York Times Succumbs to Economic Hardship

Sam Guzik

Posted: Jan 5th 2009 11:01AM

Filed Under: Washington University, Media, The Economy

Faced with rapidly dropping ad revenues and an increasingly dire financial situation, the staid Grey Lady has announced that it will begin selling display advertising on its front page-an unprecedented move for The New York Times, but one that has become increasingly common among newspapers around the country.

The announcement, which appeared in Monday's paper, was buried deep behind the front cover which contained a colorful two-and-a-half inch high ad for CBS running across the bottom of the page. In a statement, the paper said such ads would be placed "below the fold" - that is, on the lower half of the page, below teasers for other stories in the paper (pictured at right).

The really bad news for lovers of The Times comes not from the decision to run the ad, but from The Times news desk's own assessment of the decision in print: "Ordinarily, such space would be coveted by advertisers for its prominence, but it remains to be seen how well it will sell in the current climate, in which ad spending is plummeting."

Full Article »

weird newsculture

Postal Service Teams Up With the Grinch

Sam Guzik

Posted: Dec 19th 2008 1:58PM

Filed Under: Culture, Weird News, Washington University

To the dismay of lovers of Christmas around the nation, postal service has made it official: they are against Santa.

More specifically, the postal service has put an end to a nearly 100-year-old program that allows postal workers and citizens to answer children's letters to Santa. The program, called Operation Santa, was shut down on Wednesday after the postal service acknowledged a "privacy breach" in which a known sex offender had "adopted" one of the letters.

"This is a program that we have promoted for 100 years that is very near and dear to the Postal Service," said Sue Brennan, a spokeswoman for the program told The New York Times. "Everyone wants to believe in Santa. For us to stop this, we feel we are doing the right thing."

Full Article »


What's going on here? Debate Caption Contest

Sam Guzik

Posted: Oct 16th 2008 12:31AM

Filed Under: US Elections, Politics, Washington University

US Republican presidential candidate John McCain (R) and Democrat Barack Obama leave the table after the final presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, on October 15, 2008.

You decide: What was going through John McCain's mind when he made that face? Leave your opinion below the fold.

Full Article »

international newsweird news

Life Got You Down? Go Skinny Dipping

Sam Guzik

Posted: Oct 7th 2008 7:22PM

Filed Under: International News, Weird News, Washington University, Odd News

It's good to know that people can still have fun, even when the global economy is taking a major beating.

While some people are taking refuge in the realm of politics, others have found more unconventional forms of entertainment, like swimming naked in the moat of Japan's Imperial Palace.

"He spent nearly two hours skinny dipping in the moat and climbing the walls as the police gave chase," Reuters reported in a video. "Every time an officer tried to approach, he either splashed them or pelted them with rocks."

Full Article »


Students Get Ready to Tune In, Tune Out 2nd Debate

Sam Guzik

Posted: Oct 7th 2008 6:20PM

Filed Under: US Elections, Politics, Washington University

ST. LOUIS, MO - As the nation's eye turns to Belmont University, the site of the second presidential debate, students at Washington University in St. Louis are getting ready to tune in for the next installment of presidential drama.

"I didn't get a chance to watch the first presidential debate-though I did watch the vice presidential debate-so I want to see Barack Obama and John McCain give both of their views on important issues," Brianne Davis, a sophomore from Kansas City, MO, said. "I just hope McCain represents himself better than Palin managed to do in the vice presidential debate."

Despite tests, projects and exams, students are working ahead to clear their schedules for tonight's clash. Most students will be watching the debate in small groups with their friends, but the College Democrats have set up debate watch parties in large common spaces around campus.

Full Article »


In Their Own Words: Reactions From Spin Alley

Sam Guzik

Posted: Oct 3rd 2008 3:56AM

Filed Under: US Elections, Politics, On Campus, Washington University

After Thursday night's vice presidential debate journalists from around the world scrambled around the Athletic Complex at Washington University to get each campaign's interpretation of the debate. I was on the scene to get reactions to the debate in their own words.

David Plouffe, Obama-Biden campaign manager

"This is an election about change. John McCain abandoned his message about experience a couple of weeks ago. Although he's been so erratic, maybe he'll go back to it. Now it's about change and we are highly confident that the questions between who do you trust to bring about change is it McCain and Palin who want to continue all the Bush economic policies or is it Obama and Biden who want in every fundamental way to change the priorities in Washington to put the middle class first."

"John McCain has no separation from George Bush on the economy because there is none. It's an important thing for us to say: if you like the Bush policies, both economy, Iraq and Afghanistan, then McCain is your choice because that's largely what he's offering."

Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut
"I thought she was very aggressive and again forward looking on education, public school education. And, she said that while she supported No Child Left Behind it needed more funding-very interesting-and needed more flexibility for educators at the local level."

"Here you got someone who was a governor, who never operated on the national level until six weeks ago standing toe-to-toe with a very capable man, Joe Biden, who's been a Senator for 35 years. And she was every bit and informed and confident-this was a very good debate. I'm not here to criticize Joe, I'm hear to say that the stunning success of tonight was Sara Palin-she far exceeded any reasonable threshold of credibility. She's ready to lead, she's ready to be John McCain's partner."

Full Article »


Campus Watch: WU Debate Day Happenings

As the nation's eye turns to Washington University, students, campaign supporters and the media are rubbing shoulders and sending sparks flying. Among the highlights from the day, in coordination with Student Life:

  • Outside a live MSNBC broadcast at Washington University middle-aged volunteers from the McCain campaign edged out students showing support for Obama. Members of the group said they were volunteers from Illinois, but would not give details about how they gained access to campus. Earlier in the week, the McCain campaign had solicited local fraternities with offers of cash for support.
  • A man wearing a green shirt and green pants quoted Mark Twain, giving a speech from a tree branch near the MSNBC booth against imperialism and war-mongering. The student did not come from an organization, nor did he seek to advance any specific cause, or provoke a reaction.
  • Major national and international media outlets have claimed that their reporters, who were assured credentials weeks ago, are not being let into the media filing room. The Commission on Presidential Debates has said that those reporters who have shown up today may not get credentialed.

For photos from the day, check below the fold.

Full Article »


Campus Gears Up For VP Debate

ST. LOUIS – The population of Washington University in St. Louis has nearly doubled this week as more than 3,000 members of the global media converge on the campus to cover tonight's vice presidential debate between Senator Joe Biden and Governor Sarah Palin.

Despite her broken ankle and controversial new book, moderator Gwen Ifill is on campus (albeit in a wheelchair) and preparing for the debate. Both candidates are expected to arrive on campus this afternoon.

WU students have spent the week preparing protests, learning about the issues and showing their political stripes. Both Democratic and Republican student groups–along with a wide array of national political organizations–plan to speak out in the public viewing area prior to the debate tonight, looking to sway fellow students and members of the community.

Throughout the day and late into the night, I will be in the debate site and around campus keeping tabs on the latest news with the Vice Presidential debate; check back throughout the day for frequent updates and multimedia content.

Full Article »


An (In)convenient Hurricane

Sam Guzik

Posted: Aug 31st 2008 12:14PM

Filed Under: US Elections, Politics, Washington University

Both President Bush and Vice President Cheney will not attend the Republican National Convention this week, The Associated Press reported earlier today.

According to the White House, the pair will be busy working to coordinate the nation's response to Hurricane Gustav which is currently bearing down on New Orleans. Cheney will be leaving the country on Tuesday, but it remains possible that Bush will address the convention later in the week.

With the McCain-Palin campaign in a statistical dead heat with the Obama-Biden ticket, it's almost as if McCain's handlers were looking for a way to prevent the sitting president with an approval rating hovering around 30% from making an appearance.

Full Article »


Obama and Biden: BFFs for Life

Sam Guzik

Posted: Aug 24th 2008 10:23AM

Filed Under: US Elections, Politics, Washington University, Advise & Dissent, Veepstakes

On the same steps where Senator Barack Obama declared his candidacy 19 months ago, Obama introduced Delaware Senator Joseph Biden as his running mate on Saturday.

Biden - the former contender for the Democratic presidential nomination - was chosen 10 days ago while Obama was vacationing in Hawaii, according to The New York Times and was first made public through a text message to Obama supporters early Saturday morning.

Naysayers of the Biden choice were quick to highlight what they call a history of "insensitive, stupid, and counter-productive comments," his politics which are "more of the same," and a reputation that risks "alienating the working-class voters Obama so badly needs" (and those were just Bright Hall's own).

At the end of the day, though, Biden is the right choice to do what a vice president needs to do: bolster his running mate on policy issues without upstaging him and drawing away the spotlight.

Full Article »

Older Posts »

Most Popular Stories »

    Latest News »

      Featured Galleries »

      • Living the Vice Presidential Life
      • Watching the First Debate At UPenn
      • Obama's Number Two
      • Historical Olympic Highlights
      • Pictures from Another World
      View All »
      Comming Soon
      Also on AOL

      Get the latest national news, cultural trends, political analysis and more.

      AOL news